Great Synagogues great debates off to a great start

May 7, 2009 by Community Editor
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Armed with a huge plastic hammer and a very loud brass bell, Sydney’s Great Synagogue’s Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence launched the Great Debates series.

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence starts the Great Debate

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence starts the Great Debate

The first Debate drew 120 people to listen to a panel of very funny speakers debate “Judaism make sense without God”.

On the affirmative side were educator Jeff Cohen, comedian Dr Dave Bloustein and Rabbi Ritchie Moss.

For the negative were educators David Klar and Peta Jones Pellach and Justice Stephen Rothman.

Those arguing FOR the proposition that Judaism makes sense without God engaged in some mind-twisting humour; Rabbi Moss, for example, suggested that Rabbi Lawrence had put him on the affirmative case so his side would loose!

Those arguing against the proposition and for the idea that Judaism only made sense WITH God were able to draw on some equally humorous but rather more accessible examples.

The audience laughed a great deal, clapped for even longer and eventually voted for the affirmative. But Rabbi Lawrence had a rebuttal with a pamphlet for everyone on a “not nearly complete compilation” of literary sources on God.

The second of the debates – “The legacy we are leaving our children is: big problems and bad role models” will include Rabbi Zalman Kastel, Hilary May Black, Geoff Sirmai, Joel Einstein, Les Einstein and Rodney Marks as speakers.

The final debate – “Schools, not shules, are the heart of our community” – will feature speakers Paul Baram, Shelley Einfeld, Morrie Finberg, Jeremy Jones, Jacquie Seeman and Rabbi Aryeh Solomon.

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